Rhetoric of Social Movements
15 April 2014
The Environmental Movement
The environment and nature have played huge roles in the history of the United States. Nature has always been an essential key to the success of the United States. Since the first settlement in the country, farming and agriculture has been a critical part of survival and an economy. But the one thing the early settlers never imagined is that one day all of these resources, that were so abundant at the time, could all expire. This is where the environmental movement comes into play. In this paper, I will discuss the extensive history of the environmental movement from its early days of conservation and ecology to the modern day of radical protests and policy changes. I will also explain some of the top organizations involved in the environmental movement and discuss what they are doing in terms of conservation and overall strategies to make change.
There is an extensive history of environmentalism and conservationism in the United States that dates back to the beginning of the country. The first interest in nature and ecology was around 200 to 300 years ago when the first settlers came to the United States. The country had a vast amount of land and natural resources. The first settlements were based on agriculture and farming, and wood and other resources were used to build homes, so the early settlers had a close relationship with nature. When people began moving westward, [DATES] they did not think that natural resources would ever expire. Because of the size and vastness of the West, migrants thought that the resources were endless. However, the Native Americans had an intimate relationship with nature. They worshiped plants, animals, and water sources. During that era, public figures began to make names for themselves, warning the public of the danger of overusing resources through writing. Henry David Thoreau observed and recorded nature all over the east coast, particularly in New England, from 1837 until 1862. Around the same time, George Perkins Marsh became the leader of the conservation movement. He published a book in 1864, “Man and Nature,” which explained the need to preserve and control the use of natural resources. Following the Civil War, the government and the public wanted to see more paintings and photos of the new land in the West that was being discovered. Painters and photographers traveled to the Frontier to record the new land and new species of plants and animals they were finding. William Henry Jackson was part of a group of photographers called [“The New Topographers.”] He took photos of the land in the West, which were accurate depictions of the new land and nature. The photos he took helped to develop Yellowstone National Park. Later on, there were a few people who were very important to the preservation and conservation of the Frontier. John Muir was a Scottish immigrant who wrote...